MONTREAL – Xavier Dolan said it was a “relief” to win the Grand prix at the Cannes Film Festival after the mixed reviews he received for “Juste la fin du monde,” although the Quebec director he doubts he’ll be heading back in the near future to compete for the Palme d’Or.
Dolan returned to Montreal on Monday afternoon after taking home the festival’s second-highest honour as well as the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury earlier in the week.
But despite a streak of success in Cannes that includes a Jury prize in 2014 for “Mommy,” Dolan described his week at the festival as “the end of an important chapter in my life.”
“I think I might not go back for a while,” he told a news conference at the Montreal airport.
“I’m looking at the projects I’m going to do in the future and the things I’m going to do and focus on and I doubt I’ll be back next year.”
The film, which is an adaptation of a stage play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, tells the story of a man who returns to his hometown to tell his family he’s dying.
The only other Canadian filmmaker to have won a Grand prix in Cannes is Atom Egoyan for “The Sweet Hereafter” in 1997.
No Canadian has ever won the Palme d’Or, which was won this year by veteran British director Ken Loach for “I, Daniel Blake.”
But next, Dolan said he’d like to step away from the intimate and personal dramatic films he’s done lately to try different things, including two possible television projects that he said could keep him away from film until 2018.
He admitted the win in Cannes came as “a relief” after his film received some harsh criticisms from journalists earlier in the week.
“It wasn’t really revenge,” Dolan said. “It’s just a relief to know that we made a film that touched people’s hearts, or they would not have chosen it.”
Dolan said most American critics hated his film, to the point where he stopped reading their reviews.
“I didn’t want to read them because I was so proud of my film, and I loved it and I really believed it worked and I still do,” he said.
After his past seven years in the spotlight, Dolan said he has learned to separate valuable critiques from personal attacks on himself and his films.
“I guess as you grow you learn to leave some and keep some, and that’s your job to decide what can serve you and serve the picture and what can only serve someone’s urge to destroy you, to mock you.”
The film will be released in theatres in September.